This is both a true and false statement.
|Chris Abele - as he sees himself|
So, in Abele's view from atop his ivory tower, it doesn't matter what party the person belongs to as long as they are willing to do his bidding. That is the only requirement to belong to the Abele Party.
But if someone stands in his way of creating his plutocratic paradise - or even tells him "no" - he is more than willing to use his money as a weapon. Just ask the county board about that. Or the unions. If people would even say they didn't support one of Abele's goals, he would use his money to have that person blackballed until they backed down.
Without doubt, Abele has done a lot of good with his money, supporting such noble goals as marriage equality.
Sadly, Abele's involvement in any agenda isn't about being progressive or even just doing the right thing. In fact, most of the objectives he has done or is trying to do are anything but progressive or the right thing to do. Based on Abele's own statements and deeds, the platform of the Abele Party include:
- Taking away representative government
- Taking away local control of such things such as the mental health system
- Taking money away from workers
- Taking money away from retirees
- Taking public assets - like parks - and selling them off for a song to other wealthy, elitist plutocrats, even if it requires a law changing geographic history to do so
- Taking public assets that he can't sell - like the transit system - and privatizing them out to other wealthy, elitist plutocrats, even if it hurts the citizens and taxpayers
One might say that this is no different that the platform of any other plutocrat and oligarch, but there is a distinct difference. While most plutocrats and oligarchs has greed as their motivator, Abele's motivation is different.
Milwaukee Magazine once ran a story about Abele, identifying him as "The Billionaire's Son." The story appears to be scrubbed from their site, but it can still be found here. The article describes an insecure and undisciplined man that uses his money to gain affirmation. He does so by buying influence with an agency and then, once ensconced, uses his money to mold the agency to fit his visions, whether they are good or bad.
This blurb from the article shows just how insecure Abele is and how he uses his father's money to cover up that insecurity:
But many individuals active in the nonprofit sector agree with one foundation head that “a great percent of Chris Abele’s -giving is in the category of the vanity giver.” A major corporate CEO is harsher: “When he does [participate], he grandstands.… The Kellners, Uihleins and Lubars all give away a great deal of money every year, and they don’t have to get their picture in the paper. Maybe it’s just immaturity with Chris.”The article also goes on to give us some insight to the source of Abele's insecurity:
They and others cite a litany of examples. One involves two $100,000 Argosy Foundation gifts Chris arranged. Rather than the normal protocol, which would be to recognize the foundation as the donor, Chris took credit, too. The 2003 Milwaukee Art Museum annual report lists “Christopher Abele on behalf of the Argosy Foundation” (even though he gave his own smaller gift); the 2003 Boys and Girls Clubs annual report reads similarly. Seeing Abele’s name alongside Argosy’s looked like a quest for attention or at least a need for approval, especially when two larger gifts, $25 million each, remained anonymous.
Abele is like “a moth to the flame,” says a friend who warned him that -“publicity can be a double-edged sword.” When the friend advised Abele to back off a bit, Abele protested that he could “leverage” his celebrity status to advance causes he supports. But it’s hard to see what leverage Abele gets from saying that the one thing he really likes about Milwaukee is that it’s not pretentious, then drops names relentlessly himself. Talk to Abele for a while and pretty soon he’s recounting how he went to Cuba and met with Castro, how he’s importing the entire Yale Drama School faculty as directors for the Milwaukee Shakespeare Company he co-founded or how he talked Tom Barrett into running for mayor. (“Yeah, maybe him and 300 other people,” says a Barrett adviser.)
“He’ll say, ‘George and I did this,’ ” says the friend, “and he’s talking about George Soros [the investor-philanthropist-Democratic activist and 28th richest man in the world]. Well, it was a ‘meet and greet.’ Nobody cares. He doesn’t need to do that. But he wants to be considered important.”
That was exactly what Abele needed to do, too. Like the nonprofits he advised, he wanted to win the approval of a major philanthropist – in Abele’s case, his father. “Chris always said his father felt he was never successful at anything,” says friend Benson. “I think that explains Chris’ workaholic desire to do well.”In other words, Abele has some unresolved daddy issues and has decided to take it out on Milwaukee County. Isn't that just lovely?
Abele’s inability to distinguish himself in his father’s eyes may have fueled his constant need for approval, which he sought in other places, including Milwaukee’s limelight. But he also found the perfect proving ground for another chance. “In Boston, he’d always be the son of John Abele,” says Theoharis Constantine Theoharis, Abele’s former Harvard instructor. “He had to strike out on his own, away from the inevitable comparisons to his father. And he had a certain excitement about what he could do in Milwaukee.”
The worst part is that Abele is not going to be satisfied with proving himself to his father with just Milwaukee County. There has been repeated rumors that Abele is considering higher office - either taking on fellow wealthy elitist Ron Johnson or running for governor if Mary Burke doesn't make it this year. That would explain why he is already gearing up his campaign machine for 2016.
I certainly hope that is not true. For all the good things that Abele has done for the community, they cannot even begin to touch all the damage he has done in the past three years, not to mention all the damage he yet wants to do.